New Grind, Same Problems

Chapter 2: Graveyard Shift Part 2

A few blocks away, August walks briskly through the city of Providence. Normally, this city is proud and filled with glee. This is mainly due to it being a town designed to cater and profit off of Adventurers. The buildings are tall, and the inspirations they take from have gone wild. Some buildings are gothic, classical, victorian, or even worst of all, modern architecture.

This is due to the cultural mashing of all kinds of people, as adventurers come from all over. If you
e willing to risk your life for money and fame, Providence and the country of Alpherius is your oyster.

Or well, it was. Today, the city is somber and tense. The only noises are desperate heralds for guilds begging for adventurers to join them, or to re-join them, offering absurd bonuses.

August finds the sight sad, and a useless denial of the situation.

”Guilds are not Gods. Unless you
e backed by one, give it up. ” August thinks annoyedly.

As August travels to the edge of the city where the cemetery is, the splendor of the city decreases in quality. By the halfway point, the homeless can be seen. A sad sight, especially here in this city. Most of them are former adventurers who met a challenge that was too much for them, and barely survived.

One asks August for spare change, and August looks at him nervously, saying nothing. She doesn stop at all.

Instead, shed question her own reaction later on.

”Were you scared of that homeless man? He had only one arm, by the Gods. … … And now Im feeling bad. People like him are gonna be the ones **ed over the most during this time. ” August thinks nervously.

When she reaches the cemetery, its about four in the afternoon. And theyve begun to cut loose. On the stairs of a small building in the cemetery, there are goths drinking beers and talking about stuff August could care less about.

August approaches the goths.

”Hello. Can I speak to the leader of your group? ” August asks bluntly.

”Eh? We don have a leader. Unless you count the big man himself. ” a goth man says confusedly.

August sighs with clear annoyance.

”I was given a quest to help with your undead problem. Can you tell me about it? ” August asks with forced calm.

”Which one? We have a lot of undead problems. ” a goth girl says calmly.

”I don know, it didn specify. Just give me an undead problem to deal with. ” August says quickly.

The goths ”Hmm ” and ”Umm ”, and scratch their chins as they consider what to give August.

As they do, an undead man in a tattered suit walks past the group. August turns and steps back a bit, eyes widening, and her hands grab her wand and revolver.

”Woah! No need for abusing the dead, I got this! ” Lucius Dehaviell yells urgently.

August turns and sees the young man from the video she watched. Except now hes wearing black shorts, a green tank top with a white skull that has a snake crawling around inside on it, and black sandals.

Lucius tackles the undead man, and digs his heels in. He groans from exertion as the zombie moves silently forward, albeit much slower now. August giggles, covering her mouth with one hand.

”Would you like some assistance with that? ” August asks amusedly.

”Um, no thanks. No need for you to get dirty. ” Lucius strains himself to say nicely.

”I meant with some magic. ” August says amusedly.

”Just don hurt me! ” Lucius says quickly.

August pulls out her wand, and casts the spell Binding Chains, a low level light spell. It creates chains of light to wrap around the target, and a leash to make them follow the caster.

August tugs on the leash, and the zombie takes steps back. Lucius lets go and steps to the side.

”Yeah, thatll work. Thanks. Follow me so we can get him back in his grave. ” Lucius says quickly.

August shrugs, and does as he asks. They walk silently, and quickly arrive at the grave. Then August unceremoniously kicks him back inside.

”Hey, what the **!? ” Lucius yells angrily.

”What? Were you gonna carry him down? ” August asks sarcastically.

”I was gonna use my own magic to lower him, yeah. ” Lucius explains angrily.

”Well, whoopsie. Ill be sure to let you do that next time. ” August says nonchalantly.

Lucius glares at August while she stares blankly back at him.

”So are there more zombies wandering around? Cause I got a quest to help yall out for free. And it didn say Ive succeeded yet. ” August says calmly.

”The proper term is undead. Zombies are people raised nonconsensually by necromancers. ” Lucius says quickly and annoyedly.

”Im terribly sorry sir. Forgive me, Im unfamiliar with the dead and their issues. ” August explains nicely.

August smiles on the outside.

On the inside, she is utterly irritated.

”Who gives a shit about the proper terms, Im doing this for free you **. I could be orchestrating an assault on a stronghold full of Flordodians and Crocmen, but instead Im here, helping you. FOR. FREE. ” August rants angrily in her head.

”Its fine. You look like youve had a sheltered life anyway. ” Lucius says calmly.

”Ha haaa. Yes. Sheltered. I suppose. ” August says awkwardly.

Augusts mind flashbacks to a brief moment in her sheltered life.

Shes in the backroom of a nobles castle in a neighboring country. At the time August didn understand why they were doing this, but today the whole thing makes her sad. The guild she is in, the Crimson Wolves, are a mesh of being Mercenaries and Adventuring. They advertise the adventuring side more, but they make more money being mercs.

Their guild was used to destroy a country for Alpherius. And near the end of the war, August being kidnapped was a last, vain attempt at an escape. The noble demanded a ransom. And was met with silence.

August only lived because no one was depraved enough to kill a child. They were still deciding what to do with August when the Crimson Wolves banners could be seen. On the top of some banners were the heads of the messengers sent to the guild.

Her father led the charge himself. Though August didn recognize him in his intimidating armor. He stands seven feet tall, in thick, black dragon bone armor. It has gold engravings all over it, forming powerful runes of draconic magic. His knuckles, elbows, and kneepads are studded with small spikes of sharpened white bone. His helmet is like a tower, with small windows for red eyes to glare out. It has a crown of spikes at the top, with a transparent golden halo of light connecting them.

He wields a long glaive with a thick, black wood handle to support the massive Black Dragons Fang on the end. August would watch out the window as her father and his army slaughtered the small militia the noble had to offer.

What horrified her the most was the mens screams. If they were unfortunate enough to survive a cut from that fang, their wounds were covered in the fangs poison. To her fathers standards, the pain caused is eight out of ten. Enough to incapacitate anyone that isn a Demigod.

What made it miserable for August were the brave men who tried to fight despite the pain they were suffering. For some, it was loyalty to the men that have died at this guilds hands. For some, it was to spite the enemy ruthlessly cutting them down. And for some, it was because they didn know what else to do.

When her father would discover her, August would have a panic attack. She screamed and cried with miserable desperation, begging him to not hurt her.

Her father is a stoic man, so he seems to just nod, and tell his men to watch her.

In reality, the man shed a tear as he walked away to find her mother, his right hand woman, to calm her. But this incident would scar her deeply. And her parents response, August deeply resents them for despite how strong-

”Hey, you alright? Youve been staring at that grave for a minute or two now. ” Lucius says with mild concern.

August snaps her head up to look at Lucius.

”Oh yeah, definitely. Just zoned out a bit. ” August says nonchalantly.

”Did you get high with those guys back there? I don care, Im just curious. ” Lucius asks calmly.

”What, no. Definitely not. Im a good kid. ” August says confidently.

Lucius squints skeptically at Augusts ”innocent ” smile. Then he shrugs.

”Whatever, who cares. We need to start rounding up these undead now. Come on. ” Lucius says quickly.

Lucius would quickly lead August to the nearest undead again and again. They would go through the same routine as before to bring them back to their resting place, minus the kicking of undead into graves.

And August would notice a strange thing as they went around.

”Lucius is unusually important around here, despite the fact they apparently have no leader. Youd expect the elders to be in charge around here. ” August thinks pensively.

Many people would come to Lucius to ask how to help. And he would point in a direction, where an undead would be. It was strange to August how only Lucius had this sense for where the undead were, when they
e all followers of Hades.

”Lucius, can any of these people find an undead on their own? Or do you have an amulet or some magical item that helps with this? ” August asks calmly.

”Oh, uh. Yeah, Ive got an item. Its this earring Im wearing. ” Lucius lies calmly.

He turns, and points at a small bone pushed through a hole on the bottom of his ear. August gags at the sight of it.

”Ha! Yeah, thats probably weird to you normies. ” Lucius laughs.

August restrains herself from calling Lucius and the others freaks. Instead, she smiles weakly.

”Its uh, really counter culture. Ill say that. ” August says with strained niceness.

”You can just say you find it disturbing. I get it, its **ing weird. ” Lucius says amusedly.

”No, its fine. If it was Halloween, Id wear bones too. ” August lies nicely.

”Its not for style, its the item I use to sense the undead wandering around. Once this is over, Im putting it back in the box it came from, trust me. ” Lucius explains calmly.

”I understand, its cool. ” August says calmly.

Then after a few more undead, August noticed something crucial.

”Lucius, I think all these zombies- ” August says seriously.

”Undead. ” Lucius corrects annoyedly.

”Whatever. The undead are all heading the same direction. Based on the suns position, I think its northeast of here, outside the city. ” August says seriously.

”Eh? ” Lucius says confusedly.

Lucius holds his finger out, and starts spinning in a circle. He stops suddenly in the direction August suggested.

”Ah shit, Ill be damned. Theres a small concentration of undead out there. But it seems pretty far off. Must be why I didn notice it all day. ” Lucius says with minor surprise. ”Well, you
e the adventurer. You should investigate and figure it out. ” he says calmly.

”What!? By myself!? Im already doing this for free, thats too much! ” August snaps angrily.

”What, you like my company that much? ” Lucius teases.

”Id take a pig over your company any day. ” August says coldly.

”Ouch, my heart. ” Lucius deadpans. ”But if you seriously need help, Ill give it to you. ” he says calmly.

”I do need you since you can sense the undead. Unless you want to give me that bone. ” August says calmly.

”Thats what she said. ” Lucius jokes happily.

August sighs while Lucius chuckles to himself.

”But for real, Im not giving you this artifact. Ill come with you. ” Lucius says calmly.

”Good, we leave at once. ” August says firmly.

August turns to leave, and Lucius smiles with an amused smile as he follows behind her. They would exit the city through the nearest, and journey out into the lands of Alpherius. Outside of a citys walls, metaphorical or literal, you
e on your own. And its a scary world with many mystical beasts out there. Certainly more than there are adventurers.

But August is a Silver Rank Adventurer with good quality gear on. And Lucius is…he can…

”Lucius, what can you do in a fight? ” August asks calmly.

”I can summon my ancestors to fight for us. I have some very strong ones too, like Great Uncle Severus. He was legendary for using his greatsword to sever the limbs from his enemies in a single blow. ” Lucius explains proudly.

”Ah, so you can support me in a fight. Good. We can have your ancestors be our Tanks, while I bombard them from afar with my spells. ” August says, satisfied.

”Hmmm…I suppose, if they
e willing. Ill have to talk to them about it. ” Lucius says half-heartedly.

”We don have to stop for that, right? ” August asks annoyedly.

”No, I can walk and commune with the dead. ” Lucius says calmly.

”Good. Any other abilities? ” August says calmly.

”I can do some illusions, and use the flames of Hades. Nothing else worth mentioning. ” Lucius lies calmly.

”Alright, that should help. Illusions always help with plans. ” August says happily.

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